NBA Roundtable

The Difficulty Of Trading Carlos Boozer

In Trade Talk on January 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

ESPN reports

Utah general manager Kevin O’Connor loudly insisted Monday that those of us who presume that the Jazz will do anything they can to get under the luxury-tax line between now and June 30 have it way wrong.

The Dallas Mavericks got the same message when they tested Utah’s resolve early last week.

The Mavs made a long-shot attempt to convince Utah to part with Carlos Boozer by proposing an all-about-money trade that would have provided the Jazz with another sizable chunk of payroll relief to follow up the significant savings from their recent swap with Oklahoma City, has learned.

Yet sources close to the situation say that the Jazz weren’t about to be tempted.

Using Drew Gooden’s partially guaranteed contract and two players it wound up trading to the New Jersey Nets days later – Kris Humphries and Shawne Williams – Dallas could assemble a package of contracts high enough to reach the salary range of Boozer’s $12.3 million expiring contract to make the trade math work … but low enough to net an initial savings of $2.5 million for the Jazz.

Waiving Gooden before last Wednesday — which was the last day he could be released and still clear waivers — would have then sliced another $2.6 million from Utah’s payroll to essentially take the Jazz out of tax territory. It’s believed that the Mavericks also would have been prepared to throw in some cash to help offset the $3.2 million due to Humphries next season.

The Difficult Of Trading Carlos Boozer

A couple of issues to factor in

  • Cap Relief — The only way to give Utah enough cap relief is not to send back any contracts. That means a trade exception or a team far enough below the salary cap. Neither are available.
  • Utah values talent over cap — Utah is hugely reluctant to give up talent without a way to make that talent deficit back up. They’re not willing to sacrifice their most talented players in order to avoid some luxury tax bills.
  • Expiring contract — Boozer is an expiring contract and an unrestricted free agent this summer. No team is going to be willing to give up equal/comparable talent in a Boozer trade without a contract already in place, which can’t happen. The possibility of Boozer leaving in the summer is too strong and hence too large a risk.
  • Utah’s future salary issues — Utah has major luxury tax issues next season and any long term contract beyond that would eliminate what little cap flexibility they can potentially have (Kirilenko’s contract finishes in 2011). As a result, Utah does not want to take back any long large contracts. Not unless the talent is truly exceptional and that offer won’t come.
  • Carlos Boozer — injury prone + doesn’t play defense + wants a huge contract extension. He’s also a terrific rebounder + physical interior player + an outstanding offensive player. A perennial All-Star who is capable of All-NBA level play.

Okay, so add all these factors together and you have a near-untradeable situation.

The truth of it is, Carlos Boozer isn’t actually available. Utah would be willing to trade him if the right circumstances came along but those circumstances are too far-fetched to ever happen.

Lots of teams, and the media, thought and still think that Boozer would/will be available for a low price. That was never available and it won’t be available.

Carlos Boozer is not truly available for a trade.

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